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« The zen of the long-distance jetsetter | Main | I like my footy, but only once a year »

Don't be a duffer, wear a puffer

The Winter Solstice is almost upon us, and Melbourne has just had the coldest start to June in three decades. Time for the annual appearance of the Melbourne winter wardrobe staple, the ubiquitous puffer jacket, so iconic that Michael Leunig featured it in a recent Saturday cartoon.

At first, the vast majority of puffer jackets were black. They still are, as befits our black-clad city, but gradually some grey crept in. This year there is a welcome change; a bevy of fuchsia pink, burnt orange and sunshine yellow puffers have appeared like a flock of tropical birds to brighten our gloomy streets.

For a long time, I resisted the acquisition of this handy garment. It was everywhere, it was boring, it was less than flattering (particularly the ones that reach almost to the knees), I don’t feel the cold, Melbourne isn’t that cold anyway. But then I got older and my metabolism slowed, and I started suffering more in the winter months. And began to see why just about everyone possesses one of these feather-light, warm as toast pieces of clothing.

A puffer jacket is perfect for someone like me who walks endlessly. These early mornings, I start off shivering, zip my puffer to my chin and after a kilometre or two, when I am warming up, I take it off and shove it in my backpack, where it takes no room and contributes no weight whatsoever. The days of either freezing at the start of my walk or carting a heavy garment over my arm, are gone.

What really sold me on the puffer jacket, however, is my penchant for travelling, no matter how long the trip, with cabin baggage only. Mostly I travel to Scotland – a notoriously chilly country, for which I couldn’t possibly travel light if I depended on leather or wool for protection from the elements. With my puffer jacket scrunched up into a miniscule, almost weightless ball in my hand luggage, all I need is to wear a heavy jumper on the plane, and I’m set.

So, I have eaten humble pie in my assessment of the puffer. I’m a complete convert; their convenience and efficiency utterly outweighing the fact that they are as daggy and as common as muck.

And when I’m in the UK, I notice that there too, the puffer jacket has become de rigeur. If they’re good enough for my cousins, direct decedents of generations of hardy kilt wearers, they’re good enough for me.

This was published in The Melbourne Age on 22 June


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Reader Comments (1)

You've got to love a puffer!! Mine is black and down-to-the-knees daggy -and oh so warm and cosy!!

July 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarriet Ziegler

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